Business man and woman playing wood jenga game blocks in office studio.

Photo: The Fifth Estate

CAAN came across a report published in The Fifth Estate

‘Building crisis: we need an injection of good evidence’

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CAAN Photo: Some of the Godzillas of Meadowbank

A few things appear to stand out from this interpretation of what is happening in the building industry.

SURE it’s an opinion, and they are entitled to express it, but we believe it is just that!

IS this piece designed to sow the seeds of doubt about other studies?

They are critical in pointing to the lack of evidence provided yet provide little or none themselves …

IS this piece cleverly worded so as to make it ‘defensible’;  in that it is only alerting the community to the lack of data, the lack of definitions, and lack of defining what Standards ought to prevail?

At CAAN we would like to know what the average person would think on reading this piece, would they think it rings a bell, that it’s a bit like hearing from those fellow travelers of the cabal of backroom deniers on climate change?

‘how can it be so when the data is so inconsistent, the science isn’t proven’, and so on

WHAT about reading and referring to what Engineers Australia have said about apartment construction?

‘Engineers Australia Report says NSW has country’s worst building certification system’

Posted 20 Jun 2015

And that ‘the building system in New South Wales has broken down’. 

The warning came in a report compiled by the Engineers Australia multi-disciplinary Committee.  Some of the key findings were that NSW had Australia’s worst building certification system and 85 per cent of strata units were defective on completion.

WHAT about calling it what it is rather than casting doubt on clear and present collapse in confidence but also in the frequency and volume of real defects, not perceptions or something that hasn’t been defined, or sits in some data base?

The problems in apartment construction are significant for a host of reasons, few of these in this piece seem to have received even a mention.

WHAT about mentioning some of the history behind all of the issues, like the wholesale pulling apart of the approvals and inspection system, of the implementation of self- regulation and certification, the importation of building products that aren’t subject to testing … the list goes on!

OR maybe this piece was meant to be superficial, is it just that?

Also could it be a tad arrogant of them?

-tell those with water and mould issues remaining … not rectified!

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CAAN Photo: Permanent water marks on concrete walls of basement carpark; when it rains it is like a waterfall; the floor is patterned with circling cracks throughout and large cracks to the walls of both carpark levels. Lane Cove electorate apartment development

-tell those with stuck doors, unfinished surfaces and shoddy finishes still unrepaired
-tell those with poor drainage and other pumping problems that remain unfixed
-tell all those hundreds of occupants of apartments stuck with owning a lemon that through no fault of their own they now could not sell their most important investment
-tell all those owners who have lost tenants because the apartment they once rented is now uninhabitable owing to major defects
-tell all the owners now faced with massive costs to repair their apartment block … while the developers and construction companies walk away
-tell the hundreds of owners that governments and various regulators have abandoned consumer protections, and have allowed minimal inspection and compliance regimes to prevail despite years of sufficient evidence being provided that clearly showed the system was and is…


To simply pull apart the idea there only maybe a problem, that we lack the definitions, the data, or don’t have a so-called defining Standards to measure the issues against … are these Professors deep in the Egyptian River?

PS …
Would they have views as expressed if they were owners of apartments that failed on any reasonable assessment being of an acceptable standard?

IT’s not about just a few apartments …

-we are literally talking about thousands of apartments in Sydney alone
-we are seeing significant albeit lesser numbers of defective apartments in other capital cities
-the truth is the number of apartments is not even mentioned in the piece by these academics 
-are we talking about thousands of apartments nationally that have been found to be significantly below standard? The answer is likely, ‘most definitely’
-indeed are these defects insignificant? For the most part they seem not, we do have an iceberg here, and whilst the media seize upon stories of woe, luckily for the perpetrators of poor performance the media quickly move onto the next story

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CAAN Photo: ‘Ryde Garden’ by Chinese Country Garden; the first O’Farrell Govt High-rise Precinct; an experiment in community consultation with a community panel sworn to secrecy in 2012.

WHERE in the piece did they acknowledge foreign entities have entered Australia’s domestic housing market, and we are now seeing how there is an un-willingness to uphold compliance matters that has led to apartment buildings failing to obtain occupancy certification … and we don’t necessarily have a crisis?

They must be kidding

Above all it is the lack of accountability and consumer protections afforded owners of apartments particularly those in buildings of more than 3 floors … apartment owners in buildings of more than three floors do not have the coverage of Home Owners Warranty Insurance  …

To infer a situation that is costing owners millions of dollars is not necessarily a crisis is:

-a diminishing response from sideline commentators that seem to exploit their apparent positions of authority

-whilst acknowledging there is a problem it seems they are timid when it comes to actually focusing on poor performance, and the failure of those involved to deliver dwellings that don’t fail in so many instances.

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PHOTO: The fire rapidly spread up the side of the Neo200 building. (Supplied: MFB)